Have you just got married? Congratulations! Did you think that was it? All done and dusted and now on to the honeymoon? Well, hold up! We’re sorry but we might have one more job for you before you can sun yourself in the Caribbean. Yeh, we’re talking about how to dry wedding bouquets.
We’ve talked in the past about wedding dress preservation and this is very similar. The bouquet is an integral part of any wedding so we thought it’d be rude not to give it the same level of attention.
So, how do you actually go about drying a wedding bouquet? Making sure that those special memories last for as long as possible? Well, that’s what we intend to tell you with our step-by-step guide on how to dry a wedding bouquet. We’ll cover everything from the preparation process right through to what to do with your flowers once they’ve been dried out.
Just hang around for our short article and you’ll be a wedding bouquet-preservation specialist before you know it!
Why Would You Want to Dry a Wedding Bouquet?
Your choice of flowers reflects your personality and the theme of your big day. Equally, with the average spend on flowers being a whopping $2400 in 2023 according to The Knot  they don’t come cheap. Therefore, it’s easy to see why someone might want to get their money’s worth out of their florals.
The average spend on a wedding bouquet is a bit lower coming in at around $250 according to Brides.com . That’s a lot of dollars so it’s essential to make sure they’re appreciated long after the “I do’s” have been uttered. You don’t just want to throw them in the trash, do you?
We’d hope, as wedding photographers, that whoever you chose to capture your big day already has a load of photos of your florals. This is in a way a form of preservation in itself.
However, being able to gaze upon the real thing for years to come can be truly magical. Each time you catch a glimpse of your marvelous bouquet you’ll be transported back to how you felt in those moments on your big day.
Not only that, once your floral display has been preserved there are lots of different things you can do with them. We’ll tell you about our creative ideas later in the article so keep your eyes peeled.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Dry a Wedding Bouquet
First things first it’s all about the preparation. It’s understandable that you’re probably reading this after already tying the knot.
However, in an ideal world, you’d start preparing for the drying of a bouquet in advance. That way you can ensure you have all the right equipment required to carry out the task. You want to start this process as soon as possible.
As they say, prevention is better than cure so try to keep your flowers in as tip-top condition as possible. That means placing them in water when possible to help keep them hydrated.
Story Amour top tip
Make sure to have some kitchen towels nearby on your big day so you can dab them before your photo shoot. This will prevent you from getting water stains on your gorgeous dress!
Things you might need depending on which drying technique you opt for are things such as:
- Access to a dark-ventilated space
- Silica sand or borax
- Airtight container
- Mesh or paper
Take some snaps of your bouquet when it’s at its absolute peak freshness. Should anything go wrong with the drying process these can serve as a backup bringing back happy memories of your gorgeous bouquet.
Chances are your professional photographer will have documented this for you. However, it can take between 4-6 weeks to get your wedding photos back by which time your bouquet could have wilted to dust. Just do it as a precaution it only takes a few seconds.
Now it’s time to start removing items that may affect the drying process. Carefully remove any ribbons, lace, or brooches that adorn your bouquet.
These can attract moisture and cause mold so they need to be taken off. You can either undo any knots or cut them free with scissors. It all depends if you want to save these elements as well and keep them safe separately from your bouquet.
The next step is to sort of reassemble the bouquet but tie the stems together with either twine or a rubber band. You want to ensure that the stems are tied tightly but not too tight that it damages them.
Equally, be mindful of the flowers in your bouquet and that you’re not squashing them together too much. If you want to use the flowers of your bouquet separately in any way then you can of course tie twine to each individual stem.
Now it’s time to go on the hunt for a dark room in your house with great ventilation, easy right?! It’s essential that you keep the flowers of your bouquet away from light, especially direct sunlight. This will break down the pigment in the bouquet and cause the flowers to fade. Another top tip is to ensure plenty of space in the room you’ve chosen.
Equally, make sure kiddos and pets (yeh we’re talking cats) can’t access your bouquet and bring it to any harm. Hang your bouquet upside down and the drying process is in motion.
Play the Waiting Game
It’s now time to put your feet up. Most of the hard work is done. Go and enjoy a long honeymoon if you want. You’re looking at anywhere between 2-4 weeks for your bouquet to be fully dried out. Maybe slightly longer in some instances.
It’ll all depend on the type of flowers you had, how big your bouquet was, and crucially how humid the environment is. The more airflow the quicker they’ll dry out. Take a look at your bouquet from time to time but try to avoid touching the flowers too much. They’re delicate, you just need to be patient.
Alternative Ways to Dry a Wedding Bouquet
The hanging method of drying a bouquet is the most common. Not only that but it’s also the most cost-effective as all you need is some twine and a place to hang your flowers.
However, there are other methods of drying a wedding bouquet so we thought we’d best let you know about them as well. Some of them can produce slightly different results so they may be worth considering.
The obvious difference with pressing your flowers is that you’ll have a less 3D bouquet at the end of it. However, this can be a particularly good option for those with limited space. You could even create a scrapbook from your day and use these as part of the aesthetic. Or you could use them in your photo album.
To achieve this method of drying flowers you will of course need a flower press. You’ll place your flowers between two pieces of card that will absorb the moisture. After that, you’ll clamp the two pieces together. This pressure will cause the flowers to be permanently flattened. It’s highly effective especially if you only want to dry one or two flowers from your bouquet.
The Silica Gel Method
Another great method to dry a bouquet is to use silica gel or silica sand as it is also often called. This has brilliant moisture-absorbing properties and at the same time can speed up the process.
The only downside is that it’ll cost you unless you happen to have some silica sand lying around in the garage. You can pick this up from places like Lowes, Home Depot, or your local craft store. It’ll probably cost you around $15 but it depends on how much you buy.
You’ll need that airtight container we mentioned earlier for this method. Pour a layer of silica sand along the base of the container and then gently place your bouquet on top. Sprinkle more sand over your bouquet making sure all the flowers are completely covered. You then want to set this aside for around 1 week and then come back and check on your handy work. If it’s worked your flowers should be nice and dry. At this point, you can go about using a soft-bristled brush to remove all the sand from your flowers. Voila!
Another method but perhaps the messiest is to try wax dipping the flowers of your bouquet. You’ll need to melt your wax down in a container big enough to allow you to dunk your flowers into.
Once you’ve done that you can store your flowers upright in bottles until the wax dries and hey presto you’ve got yourself some wax-dipped flowers.
The wax acts as a barrier and also means that your flowers should retain their color and shape for a long time to come. With that being said you’re not going to achieve the preservation times of many of the other techniques on this list.
From our research, we’ve found people saying they’ll last a couple of weeks longer but we’ve also found people saying their flowers are exactly the same 2 years later!
No, you can’t just pop your flowers in the freezer and hope for the best. This technique is expressly reserved for the professionals out there. It requires specialist equipment so you’ll have to consult with your florist to find out whether or not this is something they can do for you.
This will generally provide you with the most optimum results on our list but will also cost the most money. Equally, it can take around 3 weeks to complete so if you don’t want to be without your precious bouquet for that long it might not be the best option for you.
Grow Your Own
A completely left-field option is to forgo drying your flowers altogether. However, find out the specific varieties of flowers that made up your bouquet. Grow your own in your garden and you can have a freshly cut bouquet whenever you want. This is also a good alternative should you fail to dry your original bouquet in time. You could attempt to recreate it and then dry these flowers to preserve your cherished memories.
Tips for Long-Term Preservation Once Dried
Drying out your bouquet is just the first step. Ultimately you want to preserve your bouquet in optimum condition for as long as possible, don’t you?
Here are some of our top tips for making that possible
- Be careful: If you’re known to have butter fingers maybe let someone else handle your dried flowers. They can be incredibly brittle so you’ll need to take care moving them and rearranging them. Breakages at this point will be detrimental.
- Protect from fading: The number one thing that will cause your flowers to lose their color will be placing them in direct sun. So try to find a bright place but one that doesn’t receive direct sunlight on them for extended periods of time.
- Bathrooms are a no-no: Try to keep your dried bouquet away from places that are moist. Bathrooms should definitely be ruled out as they can cause your bouquet to attract mold which will ultimately ruin all your hard work.
- Clean them: To keep your dried flowers looking in tip-top condition lightly dust them with a soft bristled brush every now and then.
- Encase your bouquet: One way to prevent many of the problems we’ve already touched on is to display your dried bouquet in a protective case. This will stop dust and can potentially provide UV protection. It should also stop it from coming to harm from children or pets. At the same time, it will elevate your bouquet’s status as a piece of the decor of your home.
- Protective spray: Use a preservative spray: If you want to take your protection a step further you could use a spray such as the Krylon Ultra UV Floral Protectant. This will add a barrier to your dried bouquet further protecting it from moisture, dust, and UV light.
Ways to Use or Display Your Dried Bouquet
Once you’ve dried your wedding bouquet and preserved it there are lots of options at your disposal.
Of course, you could just leave it as is in its current form. However, you could also consider transforming it into other useful and artistic items to use or display around your home.
Display it with your framed wedding invite
One popular option we’ve seen couples do is to frame their gorgeous wedding invite and surround it with dried flowers from their bouquet. This of course works best for pressed flowers. It’s a great way to make an artwork out of two key elements from your big day.
Add it to bath salts
If you aren’t all that concerned with seeing your bouquet but don’t want to simply throw it away this is a great idea. Chop up your dried flowers into small pieces (it sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it?!) and then add these to some epsom salts. You could give these out as gifts to your bridal party along with their thank you cards. Or you could keep them all to yourselves to enjoy a luxurious bath whenever you want.
Create some potpourri
You could use your dried flowers to create a potpourri display in your home. You’ll have to purchase some of your favorite scented oils in order to keep the display fragrant for months to come. Pair your dried bouquet of flowers with a gorgeous dish and it can create the perfect centerpiece for your dining or coffee table.
Encase it in resin
If you want to preserve your dried bouquet flowers forever then encasing them in resin is a great solution. This is something you can tackle by yourself but it is also a service offered by many professional bouquet preservationists. We found this video particularly useful for demonstrating the process . It definitely requires an artistic eye in order to achieve stunning results.
Create jewelry from it
For the smaller dried bouquet flowers it might be interesting to create jewelry from them. This will once again require resin to encase them but on a much smaller scale to create things like earrings or pendants. If you feel confident this is of course something you could tackle yourself. At the same time if that isn’t for you you could always get assistance from a professional jewelry maker.
Create a work of art
You could simply use your dried flowers to display as artwork. This works well for pressed flowers as they’re a lot easier to frame. Equally, if you’re the artistic type you could use your flowers as inspiration for a painting or produce a mixed-media piece. It will really be up to you and the style you’re looking to achieve.
FAQ on how to dry wedding bouquet flowers
How long after my wedding should I start to dry my bouquet?
It’s important to start drying your bouquet as soon as possible. This is so that your flowers don’t wilt, lose their vibrancy or start to brown at the edges. As we already touched on in the article, try to keep them hydrated throughout your wedding day. At the same time try to protect them from unnecessary damage and keep them upright if possible. If you wait any longer than 1-2 days after your wedding then the chances of success become less and less.
How long does it take for a wedding bouquet to dry?
The amount of time it takes to dry out the flowers of a wedding bouquet will depend on various factors. The most important one is the method of drying you’ve used. Silica sand could have your flowers dried within a week whereas the traditional hanging method may take between 2-3 weeks. It also depends if you’ve carried out the technique properly. At the same time, the type of flowers you’ve got in your display could influence the time it takes. Larger flowers will take much longer than smaller ones to dry.
How much does bouquet preservation cost?
If you do it yourself and use the hanging method of drying your flowers the process can be almost cost-free. However, if you use silica sand or resin these will invariably raise the costs.
At the same time, hiring a professional to dry your flowers and preserve them could cost a lot more. We found that Fantastic Blooms bouquet preservation costs around $250 whilst Keepsake Floral has way more options ranging from $365 all the way up to $1250.
The amount it’ll cost will vary massively depending on the preservation and display method you choose.
Drying a wedding bouquet is a simple task that anyone can do. It takes a little thought and preparation but is well worth the effort. It creates a lasting reminder of your special day and will transport you back every time you glimpse it.
Whether you choose to hang your bouquet, use silica sand, or press the individual flowers will have to be your decision. It will largely be influenced by what you intend to do with your bouquet once all the flowers are dried out.
Putting them in a frame with your wedding invite? Then pressing them will be best. Encasing them in resin? Then leaving them as is to get a truly 3D effect is the way to go.
If you’re well prepared then you’ll be reading this before the big day. That way you can look at examples online of the creative and ingenious ways people use their preserved wedding bouquets.
Hopefully, this article has given you an insight into how to dry wedding bouquets. At the same time, we hope it’s given you ideas about other keepsakes you might want to take from your wedding. Things like freezing your wedding cake or preserving your wedding dress. These are all things that help your wedding celebration continue long past the day that you say “I do”.
So, if you’ve just had your wedding and are reading this what the heck are you doing? Get off your computer or phone and go and dry out your wedding bouquet! NOW!